Friday, March 4, 2016

My first year at Mosaic, I intentionally took more time to listen to the experiences of people with intellectual disabilities and their loved ones talk about life, faith and how Mosaic can better serve in the world.

One story stuck with me.

A faith community was starting a Rejoicing Spirits ministry.

They had publicized a worship service “for all” when they received a lengthy letter from a parent.

At the end of the letter the parent wrote:

“But do you mean it?” 

It was a seemingly simply question but for the parent who asked it, it was loaded with pain.

For years she had searched for a faith community that would welcome her and her son, who has an intellectual disability. And for years she had been disappointed and grown resentful.

She and her son longed to experience God’s grace and love in a faith community. 

Too often people with intellectual disabilities are missing in our communities, not because of malice, but because of misunderstanding. When this happens, we all suffer and our communities lose.

The parent met with the church’s pastor and brought her son to worship, hoping for the best.

Within moments of the worship service beginning, the young man had knocked over the altar candles, flicked off the light switches and turned the offering plate into a Frisbee.

After the worship service, the woman, her son, the pastor and volunteers met to talk about what they could do to make sure that both the young man and his mother had what they needed to worship with God and other people of faith.

Without knowing if they would succeed, the church, the mother and the young man worked together to find ways to ensure that the family was embraced in worship.

The candles and offering plate were removed, the light switches were taped over and a volunteer took the time to get to know the young man so both he and his mother could feel at home in the church. 

Today the woman and her son are vital parts of this church body. The mother radiates gratitude.

Catholic Theologian Thomas Merton wrote, “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life alone. We find it with one another.”

This post orginally appeared at Thanks to all of you who make this ministry possible.